Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the swingin’ spot for night owls, early-risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. We’re all in a good mood tonight, so come celebrate with us. No cover charge. There are still a few tables available. Bring your own beverage.
BCB After Dark is the place for you to talk baseball, music, movies, or anything else you need to get off your chest, as long as it is within the rules of the site. The late-nighters are encouraged to get the party started, but everyone else is invited to join in as you wake up the next morning and into the afternoon. BCB After Dark is the place for you to talk baseball, music, movies, or anything else you need to get off your chest, as long as it is within the rules of the site. The late-nighters are encouraged to get the party started, but everyone else is invited to join in as you wake up the next morning and into the afternoon.
The Cubs snapped a three-game losing streak with a 14-5 win over the Pirates. The Cubs scored seven runs in the third inning and didn’t really look back. But this game may be the one remembered for the normally-a-shortstop Diego Castillo striking out closer David Robertson.
Last night I asked you who is your favorite Cubs ballplayer of the aughts. I thought this would be close but it really wasn’t as Kerry Wood ran away with 39 percent of the vote. Sammy Sosa got 16 percent in second place, Derrek Lee was third with 15 percent and Carlos Zambrano was fourth with 12 percent.
Here’s the part where I write about jazz and movies. You’re free to skip ahead to the baseball question at the end. You won’t hurt my feelings.
I’ve got to be brief tonight so I’m just going to throw it over to our opening act.
Tonight we have saxophonist Stan Getz on the BBC in 1966. He’s joined by Roy Haynes on drums, Steve Swallow on bass and Gary Burton on the vibraphone. The song is Charlie Parker’s “Scrapple from the Apple.”
Back on Monday night/Tuesday morning, I wrote about Sam Peckinpah’s 1962 film Ride the High Country, starring Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea. I said that tonight that I’d finish what I wanted to say about that film, but as I got to writing I realized that I didn’t really have as much more to say as I thought I did. But I’ll try to write a little something here anyway.
The film is a good one, not a great one. But as I wrote earlier, it seems to be a transitional film from the Westerns of the “Golden Age of Hollywood” and what would come later with the “New Hollywood” that starts around 1967 or so. While the film is not anywhere near as violent as the ones Peckinpah would make in the latter period, it is jarring to see the violence that’s a bit more graphic than would be portrayed by other Westerns of this time period. When people get shot, Peckinpah actually includes a shot of the blood. Not nearly as much blood that would actually come from a bullet wound to the gut and not nearly as much blood as would appear in films of the 1970s, but certainly not the clean death that most American films of the previous era would show.
In another scene, Peckinpah has a close-up of a bullet hole in the head. This is nothing shocking to modern audiences, but it was pretty novel in 1962. The Production Code is still in effect, but they’re certainly letting a lot more get past them than they would have just four or five years earlier.
There are a lot of Western stories about the end of the American Frontier. The myth of the Wild West was mostly that—a myth—but it was one that was very important to Americans of the 19th Century. The characters of Steve (Joel McCrea) and Gil (Randolph Scott) were meant to embody the end of that myth. They’re both aging gunmen who try to keep the life they once knew alive with one last job.
But by casting Scott and McCrea, two veterans with dozens of leads in Golden Age Westerns, Ride the High Country also embodies the end of the studio system and the Production Code that had ruled Hollywood for around 50 years at that point. (At least the studio system. The Production Code had only been around for 30.)
The heart of the movie is the conflict between Steve and Gil. Both men know that the end is at hand for their way of life, but they have different ideas of how they want it to end. Steve wants to go out with his honor. He knows that you can’t take it with you, so he just wants to die with his dignity intact. Gil, on the other hand, thinks society owes him a nice retirement first so he plans to rob the gold shipment the two men were hired to protect.
Some quick spoilers for a 60-year-old film:
For all Steve’s appreciation of the law, however, is superseded by his desire to see right and wrong done. I spoke a bit about Elsa’s (Mariette Hartley) story last time, and the scene of her grotesque wedding to miner Billy Hammond is one of the high points of the film. But Elsa quickly realizes that the marriage is a mistake (for one, the five Hammond brothers believe what belongs to one of them belongs to all of them and that includes wives) and tries to get out of it, Steve threatens Judge Tolliver (Edgar Buchanan—Uncle Joe from Petticoat Junction) at gunpoint and orders him to lie and say that he had no legal authority to marry Elsa and Billy. Certainly a crime committed by Steve, but one he feels is justified by the need to right a wrong. But he doesn’t think that the robbery that Gil wants to commit is justified, even if Gil thinks it is.
Steve’s interference in the marriage leads to a showdown between Steve and Gil’s party and the Hammond brothers that dominated the second half of the picture.
In the end, the two friends-turned-enemies are reconciled. The film ends with a great line, probably written by Peckinpah himself. When Gil promises Steve that he’ll do the right thing and deliver the money to the bank, Steve replies “Hell, I know that. I always did. You just forgot it for a while, that’s all.”
And the future belongs to Elsa and Heck (Ron Starr), who presumably settle down and live a non-frontier life after the film ends. They also conveniently forget that Heck tried to rape Elsa earlier in the picture, only to be stopped by Steve. Heck did end up apologizing to her for that. I suppose after what Elsa went through with her father and the Hammond brothers, Heck probably looked pretty good by comparison.
I also can’t stress enough the beautiful scenery of the Inyo National Forest in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in this film. I mentioned Lucien Ballard’s cinematography last time, but it’s worth mentioning again.
Ride the High Country is certainly a film worth watching, although I wouldn’t call it a “must-watch” or anything like that. But if you want an old-fashioned Western that’s not too “old-fashioned,” it’s an excellent choice.
Welcome back to everyone who skips the jazz and movies.
As noted above, one of the highlights of tonight’s Cubs game was David Robertson getting an at-bat against Diego Castillo. It was Robertson’s first plate appearance since high school. Even though he struck out on a pitch way of the strike zone, Robertson said:
David Robertson borrowed Christopher Morel’s bat & Yan Gomes’ helmet for his 1st pro at-bat.— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) June 23, 2022
Robertson said he went up to plate planning to swing & wasn’t going to walk when it got to a full count.
“I had to swing, I had to try. I’m glad I did & made my dream come true.” #Cubs
Pitchers to love to hit. They may not be good at it, but they love to do it.
Among the few pleasant surprises on the Cubs this year is Robertson. Signed to a one-year deal worth $3.5 million with incentives, he’s been worth every penny. He has a 1.75 ERA and eight saves in ten opportunities. Robertson has struck out 35 batters in 25 2⁄3 innings and has held opposing hitters to a .144 batting average.
Of course, it’s a truism in baseball that losing teams don’t need a closer. And since Robertson signed a one-year deal, there’s no reason for the Cubs to not trade him in the next month. There are a lot of teams in the playoff hunt that need a good reliever and Robertson will be in demand.
There’s practically no chance that the Cubs won’t trade Robertson. It wouldn’t make sense to sign a 37-year-old pitcher to an extension and it doesn’t make sense to keep him when the Cubs have only 4 or 5 save opportunities a month.
So where do you think Robertson will go? I did some searching through the internet and found five teams that were mentioned as possible trade destinations for Robertson: Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Mets and Phillies. I’m going to add the Dodgers to that list because the Dodgers are always in everything and Craig Kimbrel is struggling. And I’ll add the Twins because they could use a veteran reliever and they’ve pulled off a lot of surprising deals in the past year or so. His contract is small enough that anyone could afford to acquire him, as long as they have the prospects to entice the Cubs.
So where do you think David Robertson will end up?
Where will David Robertson be traded?
Somewhere else (leave in comments)
Thank you again for stopping by this week. I hope that you were able to celebrate a little with us tonight. Please get home safely. Check around your table to be sure you didn’t forget anything. Please tip the waitstaff. And join us again next week for another edition of BCB After Dark.